I find that one of the hardest parts of being milk and soy free is finding quick and easy snack foods. Before eliminating milk and soy, some easy things to throw in my lunch (or the diaper bag) were yogurt, granola bars, string cheese, bagels, and crackers or fruit with cheese. Other than the obvious dairy items, I quickly found that if granola bars and bread products don’t have hidden milk, they almost always have soy ingredients. It’s taken some time, but I have gotten to a point that I have a good selection of quick and easy snacks for lunch or on the go. Here is my first stab at creating a list :
- Fresh Fruit: Apples, bananas, pears, grapes, etc. make great on-the-go snacks, and are pretty much as easy as granola bars or other pre-packaged items. Other fruits like berries, cherries, sliced melon also make great snacks, but are better for lunches than on the go snacks. They can be slightly messier so I prefer to eat them when I have a fork, or at least a napkin available.
- Carrots and Hummus: I had a hard time finding soy free hummus, but finally found a winner at Costco – Hannah brand Classic Hommus. It also happens to be organic (bonus!).
- Pita Chips: I think these are my favorite crispy snack. I’m sure there are many good brands, but I buy Stacy’s brand, and I think it can be found at many stores. My favorite varieties are Simply Naked, Garden Veggie Medley, and Cinnamon Sugar, all of which are free of dairy and soy ingredients. I eat the Simply Naked and the Garden Veggie Medley plain or with Hummus. The Cinnamon Sugar variety is a nice treat to satisfy my sweet tooth without totally overindulging.
- Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Almonds: Definitely an indulgence. These are more like candy than a snack, but at least they have protein, fiber, good fats, etc.
- Ants on a log: In case I am the only that uses this term, I am talking about celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins. I used to worry that my co-workers would judge me for eating a snack common among kindergarteners, but after realizing how tasty it is I got over that. Just make sure you are using one-ingredient peanut butter to avoid any hidden milk or soy.
- Trader Joe’s “The Bagel Spinoza” Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: I was pretty excited to find bagels I could have. These are delicious toasted with honey or just plain.
- Nuts and Seeds: Salted almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are my favorite. Again, make sure if they are roasted that there is no soy oil on them.
- Dried Fruit: Figs, apricots, raisins, craisins, banana chips, mango… there are so many options it’s pretty easy to add some snacking variety with dried fruit. Sometimes it a good fix for my sweet tooth, too.
- Freeze dried fruit and vegetables: These make great crispy snacks, and it seems like this is becoming more common, and therefore easier to find. Just Veggies brand has a lot of options for fruits and veggies, and Target also sells a variety. With the Target brand, some of the packaging says that it might contain milk and soy. Since I don’t really know what that means, I just stay away from those, and choose the ones that look safe.
- Trail Mix: Try different mixes of your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and of course milk and soy free chocolate too (I like Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips).
- Toasted Corn: I have no idea how easy this is to find in grocery stores because I buy it in the bulk section of our Natural Food Co-Op, but this is by far my favorite new find. It’s super salty and crunchy, and ours is made without soybean oil (make sure to check).
- Chips and Salsa or Guacamole: Some tortilla chips contain either milk or soy, but it has not been difficult to find some that don’t. I just discovered Food Should Taste Good brand tortilla chips. They come in different flavors, and are kind of a nice change. I would always check, just in case, but pretty much all salsa and guacamole should be milk and soy free. Salsa and guacamole are also pretty easy to make from scratch.
- Rice cakes with peanut butter, fruit preserves, apple butter, hummus, etc: I’m not a big fan of plain rice cakes, but as a vehicle for something delicious, I can get on board.
- Sliced avocado with salt: This is truly and obsession. I find myself looking for more ways to eat avocado, but I still love to just each the slices with a little salt.
- Bean Chips: I just tried Beanitos out of curiosity, and was pleasantly surprised. They are chips made from beans, and are pretty tasty on top of being high in fiber and protein. I just tried the original black bean flavor with sea salt, but they have other varieties, too. I thought my husband would think they were weird, but he actually liked them and thought they tasted like Pringles.
- Fruit and Nut Bars: There are days that I really need to just grab a granola bar on the way out the door, and these are a great alternative. Larabar is the only brand I have really tried, but I’m sure there are others. Most of them are milk and soy free, and there are a lot of flavors to choose from. My only complaint is that they are a little expensive, so I try to save them for days I am in a hurry and need something that is truly grab-and-go.
I mentioned some of my favorite brands, but you may find milk and soy free brands near you that are just as good. I included links to the brands that I wasn’t sure were common in case you want to know more about them. I am always on the look out for new ideas to add variety to my diet. Stay tuned for more lists!